Going off of a band that I know little to nothing about, sometimes I am inexplicably drawn to certain albums. The American Scene’s Safe For Now is one of these albums. On paper, there isn’t much that would draw people to the group, save for the occasional positive review. The American Scene is a straightforward rock group with a shred of unique quality that is hard to pin down. In a weird sense, the album title Safe For Now applies to this mindset. The music seems safe, but only “for now.” While nothing is suspenseful, per se (if you’re looking for that, you’re looking at the wrong band, and the wrong genre) that shred of uniqueness that is just out of reach of being definable is enough to keep you wondering.
The band thematically seems to tread toward wistful lyricism centering on “should have, would have, could have” thought processes. The regret reaches a peak on power ballad “The View From Here” which from a cliche-searching standpoint is not really a power ballad. The never-ending driving force of the band lets up for the aptly titled “Untitled.” Perhaps the song was considered so out of character for the record that they preferred to leave the song without a title, yet wanted its inclusion badly enough that they managed to coax it out of b-side territory.
Musically, I suppose I’m obligated to give you a rundown of “Recommended if you like” groups. This is difficult, despite the band’s aforementioned vanilla-on-paper genre classification. Some of the grungier Blink-182 influences tentatively poke through at points (“Shape Shifter,” “Used to You”). Actually, the vocals do sound remarkably like Mark Hoppus at times but they can hardly be called a rip-off. Fans of newer Thrice records may find things to enjoy about this record as well. “Used to You” has almost a nostalgic feel to it that takes me back to the days of listening to 90s rock in Mom and Dad’s van or locked away in my room with my headphones firmly plugged into my boom box. “Safe For Now” continues this feeling even more so. Consider this record a solid one – it will not grab you right away, but will likely grow on you. Feel free to test this theory at one of the band’s shows if you feel like it!